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Snakewood (Brosimum guianense) is one of the most fascinating woods of the north coast of South America. The tree grows in Guyana and Suriname, and is also found in the north of Brazil. The main export port is Paramaribo in Suriname. The tree is seldom cut thicker than 15-20 cm, older trunks are often plain grained on the inside and are not valued nearly as highly as the perfectly snakeskin-like spotted specimens. The name of the wood always refers to this striking structure, so called by the English (letterwood) and French (bois de lettre) because of the grain reminiscent of illegible letters. The wood is extremely hard, heavy and dense, reddish brown in colour and ideally evenly interspersed with almost black, radially directed dark spots. Snakewood is one of the very expensive and difficult woods to obtain in good quality, a strong tendency to crack with difficult and slow drying and often just non-existent spotty grain make obtaining very good pieces a real problem at high price and high demand. However, the result of working with this beautiful wood is always worth the effort, there is simply no other comparable wood for fine knife handles.